The Cape Debate: Nantucket vs. Martha’s Vineyard

For some it’s apples and oranges, for others it’s oil and vinegar, but one thing is certain—if you’re searching for a private, seaside retreat the islands just off the shore of Massachusetts do not disappoint. From Nantucket reds to Vineyard Vines, each island boasts a style of their own. Get to know these tiny islands from the inside out and decide which is the best fit for your vacation needs. We have everything you need to know about Nantucket vs. Martha’s Vineyard.

If Nantucket is the place for you, learn more with our exclusive Vacation Guide. Our complimentary guide offers hand-selected recommendations on what to see and do during your visit.

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Everything You Need to Know About Nantucket vs. Martha’s Vineyard

It’s time to start planning the ultimate beach getaway. Will it be Nantucket’s timeless charm or the Vineyard’s laid back appeal? We have all of the key differences you need to know when deciding Nantucket vs. Martha’s Vineyard.

  • Location and Size

Nantucket is located about 30 miles off of the mainland. Car and passenger ferries run daily out of Hyannis ranging anywhere from one to three-hour one-way trips, depending on which boat you choose. All good things come with patience, though. Rounding the corner at Brant Point is like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. Its 14-mile long coastline makes for whimsical bike trips and lazy summer days.

Martha’s Vineyard is nearly double the size of Nantucket and is located just seven miles across the Sound. Just based on sheer size, a car is almost necessary on the Vineyard. The island’s population soars from 17,000 to nearly 200,000 during the summer months, about twice the size of Nantucket. Martha’s Vineyard has over 100 miles of coastline, yet there are only two designated public beaches. You’ll want to be sure to pick up a parking permit to venture to the others.

  • The Vibe

Both locations effortlessly combine island time with preppy sophistication, so prepare to unwind with your Clubmaster Ray-Bans and comfy sandals in tow. Nantucket offers a more traditional, laced up vibe flaunting Chubbies on the beach during the day and blazers and cardigans at night. The Vineyard is slightly more laid-back and effortless t-shirts and boat shoes are regulars on their sea-worn streets.

  • Food and Drink

Both islands boast a fantastic culinary scene, but what is the right spot for you? It’s no secret—if you’re looking for an expertly crafted cocktail, Nantucket is the place for you. Spots like Via Mare and The Nautilus offer world-class drink concoctions, and you’ll want to be sure to grab a bite to eat from Ventuno, Oran Mor, and Lola 41.

Over on the Vineyard, you’ll want to snag a brew from Oak Bluffs’ Offshore Ale Co. and be sure to reserve a table at State Road Restaurant and the waterfront Atlantic in Edgartown.

Curl Up at the Coziest Inn on Nantucket

If you’ve decided the quiet countryside of Nantucket is for you, you’re in luck. Here at Anchor Inn, we offer luxurious, modern furnishings and amenities while holding true to traditional island life. Plan your stay in the charming Platina Room and enjoy a four-poster queen-size bed, Malin and Goetz soaps and lotions, friendly service, and a warm breakfast each morning of your stay.

Expand your reach by exploring all that Nantucket has to offer. From the downtown cobblestone to the cliffs of Siasconset, you don’t want to miss out on any of Nantucket’s gorgeous neighborhoods. We can’t wait to welcome you to the island!

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